From staff reports
PULLMAN – Washington State fell into a big hole before halftime Friday night and the Cougars’ late-season slide continued.
WSU stumbled to its third consecutive loss, dropping a 66-59 decision to the visiting California Golden Bears at Beasley Coliseum in a Pac-12 women’s basketball matchup.
It’s been a rough stretch for the Cougars (15-9, 4-7 Pac-12), who have yet to find consistency since star guard Charlisse Leger-Walker suffered a season-ending knee injury during an 85-82 win at No. 2 UCLA on Jan. 28.
The Cougars’ NCAA Tournament hopes took another blow. WSU sputtered on offense in the second quarter and couldn’t rally back from an 18-point deficit.
The Bears (14-10, 4-8) outscored WSU 23-9 in the second quarter and went up by 14 points late in the third. The Cougars attempted to rally in the fourth quarter, hitting six straight shots, but their surge began too late.
WSU shot 42.1% from the field and went 2 of 10 from 3-point range. WSU freshman guard Eleonora Villa led all players with 17 points. Senior center Bella Murekatete added 11 points for WSU. Forward Beyonce Bea and guard Tara Wallack had 10 points apiece, but the Cougars lacked rhythm on offense for much of the second and third quarters.
Forward Ugonne Onyiah paced Cal with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Guard McKayla Williams and center Ila Lane combined for 26 points off the bench as the Bears shot 44.6% from the field and 9 of 18 from beyond the arc.